Fruit cake

Fruit cake

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  • Makes one 20cm round or 18cm square cake
  • Easy
  • 40 minutes
  • 5 hours

Ingredients

  • 200 g treacle sugar (sticky brown sugar)
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 75 g stoned dates, broken into small pieces
  • 170 g raisins
  • 140 g currants
  • 170 g sultanas
  • 100 g candied peel
  • 60 g nuts, chopped
  • 100 g crystallised fruit
  • 100 g cherries, halved and washed under hot running water then drained and dusted with flour
  • 1 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 240 g cake flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • 2 T brandy, plus extra for dousing the cake
  • medium-cream sherry
  • For the marzipan layer and icing:
  • 1 sheet marzipan big enough to cover the top and sides of the cake
  • icing sugar
  • apricot jam, for brushing
  • 2 egg whites
  • 500 g icing sugar, sifted
  • sugar decorations

Cooking Instructions

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Gently heat the sugar, butter, water and dates in a heavy-based saucepan until melted. Add the raisins, currants and sultanas and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 7 minutes then add the candied peel, nuts, crystallised fruit and cherries and simmer for 3 minutes (or until the fruit has plumped up and the dates have disintegrated).

Remove from heat and, while still warm, mix in the bicarb. When the mixture has cooled enough not to cook them, add the well-beaten eggs.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and fold into the mixture. Lastly add the brandy, mix, and pour into a foil-lined tin.

Fold at least 12 sheets of newspaper to a height of about 30cm, wrap this around the circumference of the tin, and tie it with string. Stand the tin on 24 layers of newspaper, and cover the top with a sheet of foil sprinkled with water on the underside.

Bake for an hour; then reduce the temperature to 120°C and bake until cooked through (up to four hours), sprinkling the inside of the foil lid with water every 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cool to warm and douse with a mixture of 1⁄3 brandy and 2⁄3 sherry. Remove the foil and wrap the cake in plastic to store.

After a week, gently douse the underside of the cake with proof alcohol and wrap up again. Continue to feed the cake lightly with brandy alternatively on the base and then the top at weekly intervals until the cake is ready for decorating.

To make the marzipan layer and icing:
Roll out the marzipan, using icing sugar to prevent it sticking (if the marzipan is too hard, add a little egg white and almond essence, or some icing sugar if it gets too moist).

Brush the cake with apricot jam and press the sheet of marzipan over the top and sides of the cake firmly with your fingers, filling in gaps to make a smooth finish.

Gradually add the icing sugar to the egg whites until they cannot absorb more. Adjust the texture to a dropping consistency by adding lemon juice and beat well.

Place the cake on a cooling rack over a mixing bowl. Pour the icing over so it completely coats the cake and the excess drops into the bowl.

Then thicken the icing with icing sugar and work another layer over the cake, to stand in peaks.

Add decorations.

Cook’s tips: If preferred, substitute rooibos for the alcohol when making the cake. Then, once it has cooled after baking, freeze it until required.

This recipe was created by Alicia Wilkinson of the Silwood School of Cookery, Silwood Kitchen; tel: (021) 686-4894/5 www.silwood.co.za

 

TASTE’s take:

This recipe will produce a moist, dark fruit cake that stores well, and makes the most perfect celebration cake. The joy of it is that it requires very little effort to produce a very good result.

TASTE Recipe by: TASTE
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The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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Comments

  • default
    Carmen
    November 3, 2020

    Good day name is Carmen.
    I would like to know how do I measure my ingredients for the same recipe for a 30 cm tin 10.5cm in height ,please I tried the cake and it came out very dry so I know I did something wrong .

    Please would you be so kind to assist me .

    Thank you so much in advance .

  • default
    Sylvie Segers
    December 26, 2019

    As per the recipe…. You say “stand the tin in 24 layers of paper… I’m confused… Do I bake with the paper
    Please explain

    Thank you
    Sylvie

    1. default
      January 21, 2020

      Hi Sylvie, yes you bake the cake wrapped in the newspaper. This is to ensure the centre of the cake bakes while protecting the outer edges of the cake from being burnt.

  • default
    Marie
    November 10, 2015

    Would love to bake this, but there are some missing measurements and explanations:

    1. How much sherry?

    2. In the instructions the recipe reads:”… douse with a mixture of 1⁄3 brandy and 2⁄3 sherry. ”

    1/3 of the 2Tbsps of brandy? How much is that, exactly?

    3. What is “proof alcohol?” Vodka, gin?

    4. How much “proof alcohol” for dousing?

    “After a week, gently douse the underside of the cake with proof alcohol and wrap up again. Continue to feed the cake lightly with brandy alternatively on the base and then the top at weekly intervals until the cake is ready for decorating.”

    Can you explain quantities and what the desired result is? When is the cake ready for decorating?